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World News - April 2019

2018 Cannabis Price Index Details Price Per Gram, Consumption

The 2018 Cannabis Price Index examines marijuana use, legality, and also cost, then calculates the potential taxes in 120 cities all over the globe. The study aims to “illustrate the continuous need for legislative reform on cannabis around the world, and to determine if there are any lessons to be learned from those cities at the forefront of marijuana legislation”.

Some interesting notes include:

  • Highest Price Per Gram: Tokyo, Japan at $32.66 
  • Lowest Price Per Gram: Quito, Ecuador at $1.34
  • Highest Annual Cannabis Consumption: New York, USA at 77.44 metric tons
  • Lowest Annual Cannabis Consumption: Singapore, Singapore at 0.02 metric tons

The studies ‘Top 10 Cities Who Could Generate the Most Potential Tax Revenue’ list includes New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, with a collective potential revenue of $303.59 Million, New York alone with an estimated $156.4 million.

UK Opens First Medical Marijuana Doctors Office

The first ever medical marijuana doctors office in the UK opened in March. The clinic, located in Manchester, is the first of a planned chain of offices throughout the country. The list of potential cities includes London and Birmingham, where offices are expected to open this spring. The Manchester location, led by Dr. David McDowell, will focus on patients with chronic pain who currently have to rely on addictive opioids.
Under guidance issued last November, general practitioners in the UK are not allowed to prescribe marijuana, but patients can be referred to authorized specialists under the National Health System. Very few people have received prescriptions for cannabis since November, and most of whom have had no access to it. This new clinic, with its plans for expansion, hopes to play a major role in simplifying patient access, and provide a framework for securing cannabis treatment via the National Health System.

Canadians Bought CA$151.5 Million Worth of Legal Cannabis in 2.5 Months

On October 17, 2018 Canada became the first industrialized nation worldwide to legalize recreational marijuana. Mid March, Statistics Canada, an organization that tracks data on Canada’s economy, society, and environment, released sales data in a new category: “Cannabis stores.”  Considered ‘highly accurate’ due to the extreme level of regulation, the sales for each month were as follows:

  • October: CA$ 43.1 Million (US$ 32.7 Million)
  • November: CA$ 53.2 Million (US$ 40.4 Million)
  • December: CA$ 55.2 Million (US$ 41.9 Million)
  • Total Since Legalization: CA$ 151.5 Million (US$ 115 Million)

Extrapolating Decembers numbers, Canada is looking at an estimated CA$ 662.4 million (US$ 502.9 Million) in annual sales for 2019. While this number seems high, it is being reported as a “flop”, as speculators placed the sales closer to the billions. The reason for such low numbers?  Shortage of supply has stunted cannabis sales, with experts expecting it to take two to three year for growers to reach full production capacity. Also cited are a “lack of processing licenses” and “insufficient compliant packaging”.

Columbia Seeks to Become World’s Marijuana Supplier

On the outskirts of Medellin, where Pablo Escobar ran Marijuana in the 1970s, a new industry is budding. Cannabis plants are blooming in the emerald hills outside the city, this time with the governments blessing. A large number of up and coming Columbian cannabis corporations are looking to leverage the “made in columbia” brand in a new age of legalization.

While many nations are stepping up in an effort to meet global cannabis demands,  Colombian officials say the only logical place for the future of the industry is Columbia. It’s climate is well suited for the fragile plant, and the nation supplied most of the illicit marijuana consumed in the United States during the 70s and 80s, a crown it later lost to Mexico. Officials are determined to regain that title, legally, and many local farmers are on board. “This is our chance to be a part of a legal system,” said Ariel Huetio, a community organizer who represents indigenous farmers in western Columbia. “This is our chance to say no to the wrong people and yes to the right ones.”

German Police Call for Decriminalization of Cannabis

Andre Shulz, head of the BDK organization which represents German criminal police, recently stated that the group favors “complete decriminalization of cannabis consumers”.  Arguing that the current system stigmatizes people and allows criminal careers to start. He went on to say, “the prohibition of cannabis was, viewed historically, arbitrary” and is “neither intelligent nor expedient.” 

Greece Puts Plans to Legalize Medical Marijuana Cultivation on Fast-Track

Amidst increasing interest from investors, and citing years of economic crisis, Greece’s government is fast-tracking it’s plans to legalize the growth of medical cannabis. The mediterranean nation allowed the use of medical cannabis products last year but relies solely on imports until the legal framework for domestic growers is prepared. Government officials are hoping domestic production and processing attracts an estimated 1.5 billion euros from investors over three years. According to the draft legislation, growers will have to be 21 or over, have no drug-related convictions, and have at least one acre or more of available land.

Mexico Considers Marijuana Legalization as Traffickers Move to Harder Drugs

The days of marijuana flowing only one direction across the U.S. Mexico border are over thanks to changing laws. Drug enforcement agents regularly seize specialty strains of retail-quality cannabis grown in the United States and headed south bound for Mexico. In fact, wide spread legalization efforts in the U.S. are killing Mexico’s marijuana business, and the cartels have noticed.

According to Alejandro Hope, a security expert, “Avocados are a bigger industry than marijuana and the number of homicides connected to marijuana are very small.” The drug trade generates between $6 billion and $8 billion a year for Mexico, according to the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, which estimates 15 to 26 percent of that comes from marijuana.  Advocates say legalization would allow law enforcement to focus on more important work, and more dangerous substances.

Small Farms in Jamaica Encouraged to get Involved in Medicinal Cannabis Industry

 At a recent Jamaica Information Service Think Tank, JAMPRO Manager Don Gittens urged local farmers to contact relevant authorities in the medicinal cannabis industry for guidance.  “You might be small and uncertain of how you will come up with the fees or you don’t know how to get into the industry, JAMPRO will advise you on how to get this done.” According to Gittend, Jamaica’s medicinal cannabis industry is in its infancy, and this provides an opportunity for local financial institutions such as cooperatives and friendly societies to form relationships with local farmers.

“The industry is growing at a phenomenal rate, and we need to ensure that we are at the forefront, so collaborations with small farmers will be critical to being among the first to market.”, he notes.  Cultivation of medicinal cannabis was highlighted by Gittens as a key area that farmers and local establishments can seek to invest in. “Currently, 17 of the 29 issued licenses are in the category of cultivation, because it is critical to the growth of our local market, so that can be an area that small farmers take advantage of.”

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